View Poll Results: Do you think the use of profanity has increased or become more acceptable?

Voters
4. This poll is closed
  • Yes, it has both increased in use & seems more socially accepted.

    2 50.00%
  • No, looking back through the decades it's about the same.

    1 25.00%
  • It only appears that way because of movies, TV & voyeur type entertainment.

    1 25.00%
  • Only the types of profanities & the class or type of people who use them has changed.

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    kayvelic's Avatar
    kayvelic is offline Newbie
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    Lightbulb Origins of a word.

    A big hello to everyone here at UsingEnglish.com, I'm new to the site & this is my first thread.

    (Now, please excuse me for starting of with a bang on this one as I know we are not supposed to swear but I've read the rules & I do believe I am able to disguise the offending word to some degree.)

    Something that's been playing on my mind quite a bit lately is the question of where & when profane words originated.

    In particular, a word I'm most curious about is **shole.

    Also, it dawned on me that once you split it, ie: "ass" & "hole", the two words used to make the obscenity have their own seperate meanings... so does this make it an idiom? Can an idiom be just one word consisting of two words put together?
    Or does an idiom only ever apply to a sentace or phrase?
    I digress...

    Mainly I am hoping to gain some insight as to the when, where & how one of our more colorful articulations came about, anything else one wishes to add I will consider a bonus.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who can contribute to this discussion.
    Hopefully there are people out there who are just as curious as I am.

    Cheers, Kay.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Origins of a word.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayvelic View Post
    A big hello to everyone here at UsingEnglish.com, I'm new to the site & this is my first thread.

    (Now, please excuse me for starting of with a bang on this one as I know we are not supposed to swear but I've read the rules & I do believe I am able to disguise the offending word to some degree.)

    Something that's been playing on my mind quite a bit lately is the question of where & when profane words originated.

    In particular, a word I'm most curious about is **shole.

    Also, it dawned on me that once you split it, ie: "ass" & "hole", the two words used to make the obscenity have their own seperate meanings... so does this make it an idiom? Can an idiom be just one word consisting of two words put together?
    Or does an idiom only ever apply to a sentace or phrase?
    I digress...

    Mainly I am hoping to gain some insight as to the when, where & how one of our more colorful articulations came about, anything else one wishes to add I will consider a bonus.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who can contribute to this discussion.
    Hopefully there are people out there who are just as curious as I am.

    Cheers, Kay.
    Click here.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 10-Oct-2011 at 13:59. Reason: Fix link.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Origins of a word.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayvelic View Post
    Also, it dawned on me that once you split it, ie: "ass" & "hole", the two words used to make the obscenity have their own seperate meanings... so does this make it an idiom? Can an idiom be just one word consisting of two words put together?
    Or does an idiom only ever apply to a sentace or phrase?
    Not really- it has a literal meaning with combines the two words. That word is then used in a non-literal way, which could be regarded as idiomatic.

    I think you can make some case for single word idioms, but the second dictionaries catch up, then it will simply be an extra definition, and longer longer a real idiom. For example, Margaret Thatcher, when she was Prime Minister waved her handbag angrily at another politician, and it became a verb with its own meaning. Handbag was also used for some types of dance music. In both cases, the new meaning was a departure from the original meaning and hard to work out, but once added to the dictionary, then that's the end. I think it's not much of an argument to be honest- a phrase where the meaning cannot be deduced from the individual words will last- a change of meaning of an individual word will just take a year or two for dictionaries to add it.

    Profanity has been around for a very long time- as long as the language. We hear swearing in the media more readily than in the past, but that doesn't mean people didn't swear- Chaucer (1343-1400) had a bit of a mouth on him, and if you do a search for some of the poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-1680), you'll find someone who could probably shock a few potty-mouthed artists of today. Google Books has the complete works.

    If you do, have a read of the one beginning 'After Death nothing is, and nothing, death'- no swearing, but one of the greatest poems ever written IMO.
    The Complete Poems of John Wilmot ... - John Wilmot, Of Rochester Earl of Rochester - Google Books

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